The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

April 3, 2013

MSU presents wish list of campus improvements

MANKATO — The Minnesota State University Facilities Master Plan includes all kinds of proposed projects during the next decade or so, from a total remodel of Armstrong Hall to building additions to Morris and Ford halls.

MSU faculty and staff were excited about those changes, but some of the most buzzed-about improvements were beautification aspects. Closing down part of Ellis and Mayfair Street to Warren (which runs along the backside of the library to Trafton) to vehicle traffic, for example, and making the area pedestrian friendly and community oriented was favored.

“We need to break up that concrete,” said Karen Burger, who works in University Advancement. “And I like the mall renovation a lot.”

The idea is to extend the campus mall north, better connecting the residence halls and making the center of campus more inviting for gathering spaces, said Kathy Wallace of the Cuningham Group, which is working with MSU to put together plans.

 Besides the extension, the overall look of the mall, including the pavement, is in need of repair, she said.

“The landscape also has sort of reached the end of its attractive life span,” Wallace said.

The mall scene was just one of various sketches and maps that lined a room in the Centennial Student Union Wednesday to update the community on the campus “wish list.”

Ron Fields, MSU associate vice president for facilities management, said every five years MSU updates its list of facilities’ needs and prioritizes projects based on demographic changes, such as increasing enrollment.

Beginning last fall a committee solicited proposals and met with deans, administration, faculty, facilities staff and students, among others, to gather information on what’s working on campus and what needs changing. The proposals released Wednesday were the outcome of those conversations.

“These are not approved. This is not a plan,” Fields said. “This is a possible direction.”

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